Trump isn't the hero we deserve, but the one we have right now
Point/Counter-Point: To see the other side of this argument, read “Trump: the super villain that America never saw coming”, here.
Here at The Corsair, we’ve been hosting a series of back and forth debates on the current presidential candidates battling it out in this presidential primary season of 2016. We’ve been going through the list of the main contenders, and the time has come for the inevitable. It’s time to talk Trump.
Donald J. Trump is generally hated on college campuses. The former real estate mogul, reality TV star and current presidential candidate is often denigrated in most of the classes I’ve taken over the last semester by both students and faculty. The fear of him is palpable.
However, if you take a moment to stop listening to the media narrative that Trump is the next incarnation of the super-devil and actually read what he hopes to accomplish through his stated policy platforms, you’ll find that he’s advocating for changes that are completely sane — even reasonable.
The message is conservative, for sure, but focuses on improving the lives of the poor and working class Americans. These policy pronouncements are what reveal a Trump that has more in common with Bernie Sanders — the other anti-establishment candidate running against Hillary Clinton — than you might think. It’s a shame that most people who hate Trump probably haven’t taken the time to actually read them. If you’re for Sanders, “The Donald” is probably the candidate that’s going to best represent your interests once we all stop feeling the Bern because the DNC machine rips away that possibility with super-delegate chicanery.
Like Sanders, Trump isn’t beholden to corporate interests. As a multi-billionaire already, who can afford to buy him off? His whole campaign strategy thus far has demonstrated that he’s primarily self-funding his campaign. Usually, the presidential campaign process requires candidates to buddy up to Wall Street and corporate donors in order to fund their run. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Trump is toning down his oratory as his nomination becomes more secure that Trump’s previously extreme rhetoric has likely been a way to draw in both hardcore conservatives and media attention, saving money which would otherwise have been spent on advertising. Most people seem to think Trump is crazy, but with him getting massive media coverage for a conspicuously low amount of money, he might just be crazy like a fox.
Trump wants to reform the Department of Veteran Affairs to eliminate its well-known inefficiency as well as redesign the healthcare system to essentially make it an enhanced form of Medicaid while allowing the importation of lower cost medication across borders, both of which Sanders supports.
Trump’s proposed tax code is (like Sanders’) still a progressive system – when citizens and businesses earn more, they pay more. It’s just a more business friendly spin on the same idea, limiting the top brackets and cutting the corporate rate to 15 percent. The idea is to spur the growth of business in the U.S., and with notable companies like Phizer leaving the U.S. for the far lower tax rates of Ireland in 2015, incentives like these may be necessary to stop the U.S. from losing billions in tax revenue entirely. This plan would also allow individuals who makes less than $25,000 a year and married couples who make less than $50,000 to not pay any income tax at all. Currently, people in this range pay anywhere from 10-15 percent of their incomes in taxes, but under Trump’s plan, you’d only hit those rates if you were making $100,000 or more. This would be “YUGE” tax relief for lower and middle class families.
Aside from the tax cuts to make America more attractive to businesses and provide relief for families, he also wants to fight China on the trade deficit and their well-known currency manipulation cited by politicians on both the right and the left. According to a report from the Peterson Group of International Economics, the U.S. lost one to five million jobs to China and other foreign currency manipulators in 2013 alone. The U.S. Department of Treasury stated in a 2012 report to Congress that China was purposefully devaluing the Yuan, which allows their exports to be worth more than their imports. This continued in 2015, and it was Democratic Senator Chuck Shumer who told the New York Times, “Rather than changing their ways, the Chinese government seems to be doubling down.”
This is another area where Sanders and Trump align. Both recognize that China is a big problem for American industry and that the government needs to fight back with protectionist policies if labor jobs are to have any chance of surviving in the U.S. The only people who resist the notion seem to think like the National Review’s Kevin Williamson, who wrote on March 17 that poorer working class Americans are unworthy of saving. He wrote, “The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die.”
Despite much of what’s said about him, Trump’s proposed plans would provide far more benefits to minorities than they would harm them. Their primary focuses are on bringing back manufacturing and labor sector work to the U.S. Historically, this sector of the job market has had the highest minority participation for both black and Hispanic Americans.
As for "the wall"? Even if such a measure gets past the numerous checks against it, Trump’s all about making deals. So make him a better offer. There's a lot of work to do, and according to Pew Research data, at least 15 percent of unauthorized immigrants work in the construction sector (with some estimates as high as 25 percent). I’m guessing Trump would go for a deal where workers could take reduced salaries but gain amnesty in order to cut down on costs, which would turn a pretty large percentage of the current illegal population very quickly into a legal population. Trump gets his wall, a big chunk of people get to stop worrying about deportation, and everyone else gets a massive job creation program (a concept Sanders also supports by the way — job programs, not "the wall").
Which leads to the elephant in the room: Trump’s supposed racism and misogyny.
The thing is, his record simply doesn’t show any of it.
In 1980 he hired Barbara Res and put her in charge of building Trump Tower, making her the first female to ever be in charge of constructing a skyscraper in a construction industry where women are vastly underrepresented. He was featured in a 1989 cover story for “Savvy Woman” magazine that highlighted his hiring of women for top positions, almost all of whom have been fiercely loyal to the man. In 1997, Trump fought against racism in Palm Beach, Florida when he took the town to court, which resulted in the overturning of their prior ban on both black and Jewish membership in private clubs. In an interview with "The Advocate" in 2000, he came out in support of amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation.
He also dated black supermodel Kara Young back in early 2001 (he was between wives at the time) and fully supported his daughter converting to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner in 2009. Interracial dating and Jewish family members don’t make for a KKK grand wizard, last time I checked.
I could go on, but the list of philanthropy, support, and especially employment Trump has provided for minorities of all stripes is practically endless if you do even a little bit of research into his past. Most of it isn’t in speech either, but deeds.
The fact is, the best evidence against claims of racism is that the man has been in the public spotlight for over 30 years and it’s only now that he’s running for president against Democrats that people start calling him racist, misogynistic, homophobic, etc. That’s a crazy coincidence.
Sanders fans suffer similar accusations. They recently received attacks for “Bernie Bros,” mostly by outlets that openly support Clinton, despite polling data showing this to be false. That's probably just a big coincidence too.
Donald Trump may be many things. He’s an egomaniac most certainly. He’s definitely campaigning with a focus on nativist values and on improving the lives of American citizens, and is willing to exclude foreign interests to do it. With his name on buildings across the U.S., a deep knowledge of how to use theatrics to deceive opponents, and the hatred of a press that paints him as a shadowy threat, he's also the closest thing to a real Bruce Wayne that America has ever seen.
But racist? Not likely. That’s just what you get labeled when you run against the DNC.
Now I don’t really know if Donald Trump will be able to “Make America Great Again,” but I think he’s going to try. He’s flip flopped on a lot of things, but if nothing else, he has been consistent in his earnestness to try to improve this nation.
And if you’re for Sanders, it’s in all likelihood because you’re against the establishment politics of the last few decades. But like it or not, it’s Trump — not Sanders — who is the only anti-establishment candidate that can actually win this election at this point. He might not be the candidate you want, but he might be the only way to fight against the politics you know don’t work.